Hey guys, well as you guessed it from the title. I'm taking a gap year and currently struggling with my personal statement. A little bit of background information - currently on a gap year due to not receiving any offers from my firm or insurance and I wasn't too keen on going to a university from clearing as no option on there seemed appealing to me. So I decided to take a year out, get some experience, resit some modules and reapply for UCAS.
Well anyways, back to the main topic. Personal statements. As much as I hate this whole UCAS process have to do it again. Only... this year I'm finding it much much more difficult being on my own, without any sort of support from a teacher. I'm struggling with making myself sound good with the experience I've got so far from this gap year and the experience I potentially look to gain.
Here's what I've done so far...I've volunteered in a charity shop and raised money for a charity event, I've just got a part-time job as a Sales Assistant and I've just done some travelling. I'm still looking on things to do, but I doubt I will get much time to do so as I am sitting 8 exams in May/June.
Also, I don't understand what tense to write the gap year section on my personal statement. I've read a few and one of them wrote in future and past tense which made it sound weird. So is there any examples anyone got for me to include in my personal statement?
And does anyone know what else I can do throughout my gap year that can make me stand out?
If you're in the sameish situation as me or even on a gap year feel free to message me, would love to have a chat!
Thanks in advance
what are you applying for at uni?
A gap year occurs when a student takes an academic year off between high school graduation and his or her first year of college. Common reasons for taking time off before college include volunteer opportunities, work commitments and traveling, among many other endeavors and desires. Some students even take a year off simply to have a break from school and subsequently come to college refreshed.
Regardless of the reason for a gap year, students who do take this route must be prepared to appropriately justify this time off on college applications.
Here are a few tips in best presenting a gap year throughout your admissions process:
Thoroughly explain your choice
It is not necessarily bad to take a little bit of time away from school, but you need to be able to effectively argue for your choice. Prepare a statement explaining your year off — be specific about what you did, your reasoning behind it and why it was important to you.
If your religious traditions encourage a church mission, let your admissions officers know that your choice was a reflection of firmly held values. If you were offered a once-in-a-lifetime job or internship opportunity straight out of high school, explain how it helped confirm your college path and major selection. Whether you traveled, volunteered or worked over your gap year, reflect on why you chose to prioritize these activities over immediately attending college.
Discuss the benefits
Not every student benefits from a year off. However, carefully planned and productive gap years can be enriching and valuable experiences. Make a list of the benefits you gained as a result of your gap year. The gap may have provided a much needed break from a stressful high school experience, offered life experience that you would not have otherwise been able to attain or allowed you to gain much needed perspective on your life goals.
If asked, it is okay to admit you just needed a break — after all, you are human, not an academic machine. Recognizing and responding to your personal needs demonstrates responsibility and maturity — both of which are attractive qualities to admission officers.
Share your accomplishments
Your academics are not the only thing about you that would attract colleges and universities. Admissions committees want students who are well-rounded and who offer a unique perspective to their campus. As a volunteer, how many hours of community service did you complete? Who or what did you impact through your service? Were you given any awards or recognitions from your employer?
While backpacking across continents, did you reach any personal goals or learn a new language? Do not be afraid to place value on your achievements — no matter how big or small — even if they are not solely academic in nature.
While taking a gap year is not always the best choice for every student, this time off is becoming more and more popular and can certainly be valuable to students who use it appropriately. To ensure admission to your top colleges is not negatively impacted by your year away, use these tips to argue for the importance of your gap year, as well as why you are a better candidate for admission because of it.
Brenna Tonelli is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a technology platform for private academic tutoring and test prep designed to help students at all levels of education achieve academic excellence.
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